A Lottery Dream

Just recently some friends and I got talking about what we might spend our money on if we won the lottery and also about the things that we would like to do when we retire. I find it fascinating how different we are and what we think would make us happy if money was no object.

Some wanted new houses or very elaborate home improvements, some wanted to buy a fancy car. I don’t have particularly expensive tastes and I’ve never been a big fan of “things”. My house is somewhere that we live as a family, where people can come and feel comfortable. It does need some refurbishment, but it wouldn’t be anything particularly swanky or expensive,

I don’t particular wear a lot of jewellery and I’m not really into designer clothes. I do quite like a nice pair of shoes, but I’m not sure I’d spend my full pension or lottery win on shoes!

My ideal way to spend the money, would be to travel and see all those places that I’ve not been able to see, either due to lack of finances or lack of time. There’s lots of places in America that I’d still like to visit, Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, Lapland, in fact there is plenty of the world that I’ve not seen. A lot of the holidays that we have had have suited us as a family and it’s only been very recently that me and my husband have started to visit some of the places that we want to see, that the girls may not have been particularly interested in.

The other thing that I would love to do is to be able to book and see lots of different musical theatre shows, without having to worry about the cost. It would be lovely to travel to London, Broadway or Las Vegas to see different shows every few weeks. I am very lucky in that I do go to the theatre fairly often, but tend to book things that I’ve seen before, or that I have a pretty good idea that I am going to like. It would be wonderful to be able to book something without having to think about paying a lot of money for something that I end up not liking.

To be fair there are very few musical theatre shows that I haven’t enjoyed. Even those where I have thought it wasn’t my particular cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed watching just for the sheer spectacle, the costumes or just seeing the wonderful talent of the performers. I love a good show or a concert and I would certainly be able to fill my time with these things.

Who knows, I might even be wearing a new pair of shoes !!

 

 

Time Flies

I can’t believe that we are already on Wednesday and that I have not got round to writing my blog again this week. I also can’t believe that it is the middle of August already, where does the time go?

This week it will be my eldest daughter’s 21st birthday, the last milestone birthday of the year for us as a family. It has certainly been a year for milestone birthdays, with me being 50, my youngest being 18 and my eldest being 21. That certainly wasn’t planned in any way, but it has made for a very busy, exciting, if not slightly expensive year.

This week also sees the week, where my youngest daughter will receive her A Level results. She is not particularly concerned about this, as she does not wish to go to university and has already found herself a job, but I do feel for all those other students and parents out there, who are anxiously waiting to see what Thursday will bring.

Making Progress

Over the last couple of weeks I have felt really motivated to keep up with my running and also to keep on with the healthy eating. I certainly feel much better for it and feel that I am definitely making progress with my fitness.

On Tuesday I attended at my usual Slimming World class and it was the evening to award the “Woman of the Year”. The people who had been nominated talked about what had been the defining moment that brought them to lose weight and what a difference that it had made to their lives.

It was very inspiring to listen to their stories and very moving too. It certainly got me thinking about the difference losing a couple of stone and increasing my exercise has done for me. Interestingly, some of the women had no photos from when they started losing weight, which said a lot about the lack of confidence that you can have when you are overweight. I certainly felt that I didn’t want to appear on photos. I’m still not the most photogenic person , but don’t completely hate having my photo taken anymore.

Hopefully I’ll keep up the hard work and continue with the progress. I’ll let you know how I get on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An eventful week (2)

So the second part of the week was spent celebrating our youngest daughters 18th birthday. It’s really hard to believe that she is eighteen already! When we used to go on holiday in a big family group she was always the baby and now she’s an adult too.

Celebration cocktails

On Thursday it was her actual birthday and we had a bit of a lazy day at home then celebrated by gong into Leeds for cocktails. There were a couple of friends and one of the mums who I am also friends with. We had a few cocktails together and then the young ladies went of to celebrate whilst me and my friend returned home. I’m definitely not cut out for partying until the early hours any more.

Party time!

On Friday evening we had the official party at our local country club, which sounds much grander than it actually is, but it was a great venue for her to be able to celebrate with her friends.

Early in the evening the family guests began to arrive and I was a little concerned when there were very few friends there. However I was reliably informed that no one goes out that early and true to form about 1 1/2 hours later the friends began to drift in and there was a steady stream of them for the rest of the evening.

They were a great bunch of young people. They probably drank too much, but there were no problems and they all seemed to enjoy themselves, which was the main thing.

The food consisted of take away pizza, mozzarella sticks, garlic bread and chips, followed by tiers of donuts. I was a bit dubious when she told me that this was what she wanted, but it actually worked really well and certainly as much easier than preparing loads of food that no one eats.

At the end of the night the younger ones went off to party some more and yes older folk went home to put our feet up.

It was great to see the young people enjoying themselves and was good to get the family together too. I may be biased but I’m really proud of how she has grown up and what a lovely articulate and sociable young woman she has turned into.

The only downside to this week is that I have  probably eaten my body weight in donuts and pizza and really need to get back on the healthy eating, but for this week, life was not about eating lettuce and fruit, but about spending time as a family and celebrating their achievements.

 

An Eventful Week (1)

On Monday my husband, youngest daughter and myself travelled to London for our eldest daughters graduation from The London College of Music at The University of West London. She has graduated with first in BA hons in Musical Theatre. Last week I mentioned how she had overcome the initial let downs and has worked hard and been so determined, that even though I may be biased I honestly believe that she deserves that achievement.

Proud parent moment

The graduation ceremony took place yesterday at Wembley Stadium, which in itself is a pretty impressive place. I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony before. Other than my sister in law, who I didn’t really know when she was a student, my eldest daughter is the first person in the family to go to university.

The ceremony ran like clockwork, from registering, collecting gowns, having photos taken to entering the Great Hall, it was obviously meticulously planned. The actual walking across the stage was a “blink and you might miss it” moment, but was still worth the wait.

Afterwards the graduates were allowed out onto the terrace to take photos, which was great. Then it was into central London with some friends and their families for a meal in the Coppa Restaurant next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Afterwards the young people went off to party and us older folk went back to the hotel for a well earned rest.

It was a great day, marred very slightly by one of the mum’s not being very well at the end of the night, so I wish her a speedy recovery.

I want to thank everyone at the University, who has tutored, encouraged and inspired my daughter through the last three years. Particularly the group of friends who have been an inspiration, support and an endless source of entertainment for me.

I’d also like to wish them all the best of luck as they begin their new journey out in the big wide world. Continue to support each other as you’ve done over the last three years and you won’t go wrong.

Here’s  to the future, embrace it, whatever it may bring.

Everything Happens for a Reason

So today the tickets arrived for my eldest daughter’s graduation. I am so excited. I can’t believe it’s finally here. I also can’t believe how quickly the last three years have gone by.

I remember going to all the auditions with her and her not being offered a place anywhere. I was heartbroken, but she handled it much better than me. She believed that something would come along that would be right for her and would come at the right time.

Her favourite saying has always been “Everything happens for a reason”. I have always told her that this is true, but she has been much more faithful to this than I have ever been. I try to think that things happen that are meant to and that in the future we will find out the reason why. Sometimes this is not so easy.

It’s hard to understand the reason why someone dies or falls ill, especially when they are very young. It’s hard to understand why there can be terrorist attacks or big disasters like the Grenfell Tower.

I have worked for many years with the most vulnerable people in our society who have been treated horrendously by those who should care for them the most. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked myself how people can be so cruel and if everything happens for a reason, what on earth could be the reason behind this type of behaviour.

I wish I could say that I was going to give you the answer, but I can’t. I only know that it has helped my daughter through some difficult situations over the years. She did get offered a place at university, not the one that she had originally thought of going to, but the one that when she’d visited she really liked instantly. There were others that were more popular or more high profile, but she knew what she was comfortable with and where she would fit in. She’s had a superb three years, met some great people, had some great experiences and come out with a first in her degree. Maybe that was the reason she got turned down for the others.

It’s certainly helped her over the last few months of auditions, where she accepts rejection as part of her development and chance to practice her skills.

When I discussed with people at work about whether “Everything happens for a reason”, some were very sceptical, saying that things just happen by chance and that there is no big master plan.

What do you think??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasty Germs and Trashy TV

For the last week or so I have been suffering from some virally type thing which has given me an awful cold and a chesty cough. I spent a few days coming straight home from work and then going off to bed as I felt so terrible. As a result of this I have not done any exercise at all and have not eaten anything that you could describe as healthy. I guess that some weeks just have to be written as a lost cause. So what do you do when you feel ill and can’t be bothered?

Guilty Pleasures

As my daughters got to be teenagers they began to watch what I can only describe as trashy TV. These were things that I considered myself far too intelligent to watch and thought that they were a waste of time. Reality TV, which bears no resemblance to reality at all. Young people with perfect bodies, hair and teeth, who’s sole purpose is to look good. Judging people by how they look and if they can attract someone of the opposite sex (or the same sex), rather than on any achievements or personality.  However, I seem to have become obsessed with one of these very programmes – Love Island!

It originally started when we were on holiday a couple of years ago. We would often come back in from having a meal and a few drinks and it would be on the TV. My first reaction was that it was a load of rubbish, but I found myself being drawn in to watching it. Soon it started to promote discussion with my daughters about people’s morals and the importance of looks above any kind of substance.

Now my youngest daughter and I watch it together. I even wait for her to come home from work rather than watch it before she gets in. It may be trashy TV, but it is one thing that brings us closer, at least for the 7 or so weeks that it’s on. It doesn’t need me to think in any way and sometimes that’s just the kind of entertainment I need. Sometimes I feel as if I should make some sort of apology for watching this. It goes against everything I have taught my girls over the years, but for some reason I can’t help myself.

We also watch Hollyoaks together, which again promotes a lot of discussion between us, quite often about sensitive subjects. Sometimes it’s just nice to spend half an hour together watching TV and chatting. My husband despairs at the stuff we watch together sometimes, but I really enjoy that time.

 

 

 

 

Getting Together

Blimey my blog is late again. I’m not quite sure what’s happening. My weekends seem to be so packed that I don’t seem to get round to writing on a Sunday evening.

Community Spirit

This weekend was a really important one for the community of Batley, where I have lived all my life. It was also a really important weekend for communities all over the country.  This was the weekend of the Great Get Together, where people of all different backgrounds joined together to celebrate their diversity and to recognise the things that we have in common. I loved reading the updates about the various events that were taking place and the heart warming photographs of people from all walks of life coming together.

A friend of mine wrote a really good blog about this, which I would recommend if you want to know what it was all about

https://grimois.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/why-my-great-get-together-weekend-wont-be-soured-by-events-in-finsbury-park/

As part of the “More in Common” weekend, I attended an open air service at All Saints Church, Batley with my mum and my eldest daughter. I haven’t attended church much recently, as I have felt unsure where I fit in and just exactly how I feel about my faith. However the service on Sunday was relaxed and informal. The hymns were modern and upbeat and the sun was shining. It made me really think about the fact that  whether you had the same faith as others, or any faith at all, doesn’t really matter. What is important is that we treat others with respect, kindness and as we would like to be treated.

Family Gathering

As Sunday was Father’s Day, we had a family barbeque. The sun was still shining and it was great for us to get together and have chance just to sit and chat and have some food and drinks. My mother in law and father in law couldn’t come as my mother in law has just had an operation on her knee and had just come out of hospital.

After we had eaten for some reason the women were sat inside and we began chatting about faith, beliefs, learning about different cultures and tolerance. It was really interesting to hear other peoples views and to understand that although we may not always agree with others, sometimes it is good to air your views and let other people know how you feel.

Tomorrow my eldest daughter returns to London, to start looking for work and a new house, so I wish her luck with that. It’s been wonderful to have her home, but my bank account and my healthy eating have suffered whilst she’s been at home. I’m not sure which one of us is the bad influence.

 

Damage Limitation

After eating my body weight in cake and ice cream over the last couple of weeks, I dragged myself back to slimming world tonight and unsurprisingly I had put weight on. It’s now four weeks to my eldest daughter’s graduation and youngest daughter’s 18th Birthday party, so I have had to give myself a stern talking to and get myself back on track. I have made myself a healthy breakfast and lunch to take to work tomorrow. I realise how much money I’ve spent buying unhealthy food over the last few weeks, so not only will it be better for my health, but also for my bank balance.

I won’t dwell on it, its done now, so I’ll draw a line under it and start again tomorrow morning with a clean slate. I’ve also booked myself in with run together tomorrow to make sure I get my exercise back on track too.

 

 

Reflecting on the good things in life

After all the sadness and unsettled feeling about the world in general, I am happy to say that I am feeling much more at peace with things this week.

A new life and new beginnings

I found out in the last couple of weeks that my lovely niece is pregnant with her first baby. She had had her first scan a couple of weeks ago and felt comfortable in sharing her good news with people. I am so happy for her and her partner and hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy.

It was also great earlier in the week when one of my lovely work colleagues brought his brand new baby son into work for everyone to see. He was a beautiful baby with lots of hair. Everyone was really pleased to see him and all the ladies wanted to have a little cuddle with him. It doesn’t seem to matter what is going on in the world, but a pregnancy or a  brand new baby always seems to bring such hope for the future. Who knows what these children will achieve in the future, or what the world may be like by the time they are adults, but for the present time they are safe and cared for by those who love them most.

A different new beginning

I was honoured to be invited to my friend’s retirement party yesterday. When I say retirement, he is only in his very early fifties, but has served with the Police for over 30 years. It was lovely to attend his celebration and to catch up with old friends and colleagues.

One of the really great things was that quite a number of the people that were there had not seen me for quite a while and were very complimentary about how I looked. I guess when you see yourself on a day to day basis, you don’t realise how much you have changed over several months. Losing a couple of stones and growing my hair a bit longer certainly surprised some people and have to say that I felt very pleased with myself. Hopefully this will now spur me on to keep up with the healthy eating and exercise.

 

All together again

Another reason to be grateful this week is that we have our eldest daughter home from university for a visit and it is nice to be together again as a whole family. She is only here for a visit and will be returning to live in London to look for work, but it is nice to have her home for even a short time. Our youngest daughter starts her new job this week and has her final exam at school next week, so I guess that it is a new beginning for both of them.

New Challenges

Whilst I was tidying out the spare room I found a notebook with a list of things that I had hoped to achieve this year. Looking through it I was pleased to say that I have completed some of them and am on the way to completing others. I now need to think about new challenges for this year and also for the years to come. My friend wants me to complete a 10k run with her, which will be a challenge as I’m only just managing the whole of Parkrun, which is 5k. In a couple of weeks I am taking part in a 6k run in memory of Jo Cox and will also be singing with Batley Community Choir at the run (obviously not at the same time, I can’t actually speak when I run never mind sing!). We are also singing at a concert on 1st July in aid of Jo’s charities.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

As life goes on

I promised myself at the start of the year that I would write a blog every week and that it should reflect on the things that I have achieved in the course of the year, making each week count , being positive and seeing a good side to things

As I started to write my blog this week, (which is late again for no apparent reason, other than I haven’t got round to doing it) there has been another terrorist attack in the UK, this time in London.

This blog has certainly been a challenge this week. I could find some lovely things to write about my week as I normally do: It was my husband’s birthday and we went out for a lovely meal and to the cinema; I visited my brother and his family and we spent a lovely weekend with them; My youngest daughter has had two interviews this week and has been offered a job and my eldest daughter has gone on holiday having finished her final year at university.

So there are a lot of good things going on in my life at this moment in time, for which I am most grateful, but it is hard not to feel sad and preoccupied with the awful things that are going on in the world and what will have to happen to change these things. Its hard to write a blog about my everyday life without it sounding trivial or unimportant.

Last week I did focus on some of the good things that came out of terrible tragedy and again this week there were amazing acts of bravery and selflessness. There were communities that stood together and refused to be divided by the acts of a small group of individuals. The concert held in Manchester to raise money and pay tribute to the people who had died or were injured was a great way of showing support and defiance.

But one mistake I did make was to read through lots of comments made on social media. I generally try to avoid reading people’s political rants and scathing comments about the emergency services or using what is going on as a platform to generate hatred, but for some reason on Saturday evening I found myself reading social media as the events unfolded in London. What had happened was shocking enough, but some people’s reactions to it were horrendous. I accept that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I wonder whether some of these people have any heart, compassion or an ounce of intelligence to put on some of the things that they did. But then again, more fool me for wasting my energy in reading them.

So I close my blog this week with hope that there will not be another event like this in the near future, or even at any time and that those groups of people who are teaching tolerance and coming together win out over those who want to cause harm and distress to others, whether that be through their actions, lack of actions or words.

Here’s to a happy and peaceful week.

Where’s my Blog?

As this was a Bank Holiday weekend, I did think that my blog might be a day late, but for some reason it’s actually two days late. It certainly feels like this will be one of those weeks when I am constantly on the wrong day. It certainly feels like it has been a long week. There was so much going on that it was sometimes hard to believe that it all happened in a week.

A sad day for Manchester

It was shocking to wake up on Tuesday and hear the news of the terrorist attack at the concert in Manchester. You could not help but be moved and feel great sadness for those involved. As the news unfolded during the day, there were some terribly sad scenes of people who had been injured and terrified when they should have been having a safe journey home after a great night out.

I think what was also extremely important to show, was all the good deeds that came from such a terrible incident. People who helped strangers, protected their own children and other people’s children, those who took drinks and staff for the emergency services and people who gave their time and skills for free.

Whatever is behind these terrible attacks, whether we apportion blame to the individuals, a particular group or whether we blame the government doesn’t really matter. It certainly doesn’t help those involved. However those good deeds, acts of random kindness, people doing the right thing, may help Manchester, the victims and other places, where terrible things have happened, to heal and move on.

The Play That Goes Wrong

On Friday night my husband and I went to the theatre to see “The Play That Goes Wrong”. I originally booked it as I was given theatre tokens as a gift, so I decided that I would book something that I wouldn’t normally go see. I am definitely a musical theatre fan and have only ever been to see a couple of plays. I have usually found them quite interesting, but I am definitely waiting for people to burst into a song and a dance at points.

However, this play was very different. It was so funny all the way through. there were no dull moments, or waiting for something to happen, it was full on from start to finish. It was very old fashioned physical comedy. There was no real swearing or smut involved, just the occasional double entendre. It was a really good night and my sides were aching when we left the theatre, from laughing so much.

A BBQ weekend

It was really nice over the weekend to be invited to a couple of barbeques. The fist was an invite from work and it was really nice to spend the afternoon in the sunshine, with a few of the people from work, having a laugh and chatting about things other than work.

On Sunday we went to my sister in laws for a barbeque. It was a lovely still afternoon and quite warm. We spent the afternoon chatting as a family and also being entertained by my niece’s five year old step son, who was a bundle of energy and kept us all on our toes.

Back on the plan

I started back on the healthy eating this week and felt much better for it. I’ve also carried on walking and doing a bit of running, so certainly feel back in the swing of things. On Saturday I went to park run, but did a different one to the one that I usually do. It was a really lovely run in Oakwell Country Park. We used to go there a lot when the girls were younger. The grounds there are beautiful and it makes me realise how many lovely places there are that are so close to home that we get out of the habit of visiting.